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In February first-year students at Calvin Theological Seminary headed to Camp Geneva on the icy shores of Lake Michigan to spend 24 hours in retreat discerning their calls to ministry.

Calvin Theological Seminary students and facilitators at the 2013 Pastoral Identity Retreat.

They spent time in small group conversations about personal stories of calls, gifts for ministry, and deeper motivations for ministry practice.

Students said that the small group conversations were rich and engaging as they wondered about how God might use them in ministry.

Sometimes at these retreats students do in fact discern that they are not called to pastoral ministry, and in that learning they are blessed as well.

Students also worshiped as a community among the sand dunes of Lake Michigan.

Rev. Ron Nydam, professor of pastoral care, facilitated the 2013 Pastoral Identity Retreat as part of the core curriculum of the course “Foundations for Pastoral Care.”

“Each year I look forward to our retreat because as we gather in community off-campus and engage each other in a more relaxed setting, I always sense the movement of God’s spirit in the lives of our students,” said Nydam. “I love it.”

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